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Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has introduced social, economic, political and military reforms.1 While the country has not experienced serious problems related to armed conflicts or criminal violence in recent years, both the military forces and civilians have considerable firearm holdings.2 As of 2017, 66 per cent of guns in Chile were unregistered.3 Illicit drug imports pose a threat to the country’s security, since they are linked to arms trafficking. The demand for arms continues to rise along with the number of crimes committed with firearms.4

The country's guiding gun control legislation includes the Law on Arms Control of 2005. Chile has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty.5 In 2020, the Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) organised a national seminar on ammunition controls.6

1 Francisco Rojas Aravena, Arms Procurement Decision Making: Chile. (Stockholm: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2000),

2 Aaron Karp, Surplus Arms in South America: A Survey (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2009),

3 David Gacs, Rachel Glickhouse, Chase Harrison and Carin Zissis, "Explainer: Gun Laws in Latin America’s Largest Economies," AS COA News, August 26, 2021,

4 "Chile: Global Organized Crime Index," Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, 2021,

5 Philip Alpers, Amélie Rossetti and Leonardo Goi, Chile – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law  (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

6 “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Map of Chile

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, one accidental explosion has been reported in Chile.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Chile (1979–2021)








State (military)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported in Chile.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Chile






Weapons were stolen from a military compound.


Throughout the country

8,449 firearms were stolen from national stockpiles.

By 2010

Throughout the country

11,751 firearms were stolen from national stockpiles.

Sources: "They Confirm the Arrest of Someone Involved in the Theft of 50 Weapons from a Military Compound," LA News, March 21, 2022,; "Number of Missing and Stolen Firearms Increases in Chile," Gun Policy News,, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, August 22, 2016,


To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Chile has disposed of its firearms and ammunition since 1990 under the weapons destruction programme.

Source: "Chilean Government Destroys Some 13,600 Firearms Seized or Turned In," Prensa Latina, August 22, 2016,


No reported needs have been identified for Chile.

Source: Chile, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN, 2020),

Published Date: Thursday 21 of September 2023